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Visva Bharati Faculty Divided Over Gaushala, Teachers Say Vice-Chancellor Reviving Cowshed to Impress Prime Minister Narendra Modi

A few days ago, a group of teachers wrote to the central government alleging that Vice-Chancellor Swapan Kumar Datta had unnecessarily used up university funds to revive a cowshed that was shut for 26 years, only “to impress the Prime Minister".

Sujit Nath | News18

Updated:November 10, 2017, 1:11 PM IST
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Visva Bharati Faculty Divided Over Gaushala, Teachers Say Vice-Chancellor Reviving Cowshed to Impress Prime Minister Narendra Modi
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Kolkata: The Visva Bharati University V-C’s decision to revive a gaushala (cowshed) at university premises after 26 years, has left the faculty members at this West Bengal varsity divided. Now, they have written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking his immediate intervention to remove the cows from campus.

While the members of Visva Bharati University Faculty Association (VBUFA) alleged that the officiating Vice-Chancellor Swapan Kumar Datta has no standing to use university funds for the cow shed, Datta while rubbishing the allegations said that the decision was taken as a part of course curriculum.

Speaking to the News18, Datta said, “Nothing is illegal about the cowshed. There are some faculty members who are unnecessarily making it controversial. We have a course in BSc Agriculture that includes animal husbandry and dairy farming and the cowshed is needed for it.”

A few days ago, a group of teachers wrote to the central government alleging that Datta had unnecessarily used up university funds to revive a cowshed that was shut for 26 years, only “to impress the Prime Minister".

However, Datta chose to disagee. He said, “I don’t understand what the controversy is. I cannot deprive the students of what they need for their studies. Interestingly, the students have no problem but unfortunately the faculty members are against the move.”

Datta further claimed that the cowshed was first set up by Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore, who founded the university.

He said, “Tagore had come up with the idea because he thought milk was necessary for the students. So I thought of reviving the cowshed, which was lying unused for several years. Currently, we have 19 cows and produce 20 liters of milk every day.”

When asked to comment on the VBUFA allegation that the revival of gaushala is nothing but an attempt to appease Prime Minister, he said, “I feel sad when I hear that some faculty members are alleging that I am doing this to satisfy the RSS and BJP. I am not here to appease anyone. Whatever decision I take, it is only to help the students. If the PMO seeks my reply, I am ready with it.”

“I would like to clarify that the decision to revive the gaushala was taken following a visit and inspection of a National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) team in 2015. Those who are opposing the move are anti-Tagore,” he added.

On the other hand, VBUFA President, Sudipta Bhattacharya said, “We know for sure that neither the government, nor the UGC has ever instructed him (officiating V-C) to build a cowshed of dairy farm. Rather, the HRD ministry, in a letter to him (F. No. 2-5/2016) instructed that the ‘V-C in-charge’ cannot take any appointment or policy-related decision. Yet, he violated the government directive.”

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| Edited by: Sanchari Chatterjee
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